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Reviewed by Jackie Rodgers, Senior English teacher, Wakatipu High School, Queenstown
Opening sentence
Six weeks until the end of term.
"At school. Being right isn't always the right answer." That is how, as readers, we are introduced to Ned Wenlock's debut graphic novel, Tsunami. Wenlock, a Kapiti Coast artist and illustrator himself states in a Spinoff interview that he just "wanted to follow the characters. The characters [he states] became a lot more interesting" and as a result threw the plot structure out the window. And it reads like that.

It's a coming of age story. Young Peter, determinedly fighting for the truth, becomes his worst enemy when he tries to adhere, almost doggedly, to telling the truth. The story itself on the edge of the brutality of growing up is thought provoking. Stylistically, the simplicity of the almost vignette-like events unfolding in Peter's life - be it confrontation with the bully Gus, the 'badass' new girl at school, or talking with his mother - remind the reader just how complex and conflicting life can be when you're young.

There's a bit of bad language and the odd metaphor that some of my Year 9 boys would giggle over for days, but there is no doubting the metaphor. Life for a teenager can feel like a tsunami is heading your way and there is very little you or anyone can do about it. And (spoiler alert), it ends badly. It ends brutally, and it ends bloody. Unexpected but ironically, not. It's a cautionary tale for those of us who have done the time, looked back with retrospection, and can be glad to count ourselves amongst those still here.
Author & Illustrator: Ned Wenlock
Publisher: Earth’s End Publishing
ISBN: 9780473655679
Format: Paperback
Publication: Aug 2023
Ages: 17+
Themes: Teenage-hood, relationships, growing up, bullying